After his last encounter with the Proto Lord Alexei had never wanted to hear the hoarse croaking laughter of the creature ever again. Now that he had the hairs on the back of his neck and his arms were all standing to attention and every fiber of his being was telling him to flee, run as far away as he could, and never look back. But he couldn’t do any of that. He had a mission to complete, people to save, and a kingdom to protect. “Show yourself, Proto Lord!” Alexei called out, his staff held defensively in preparation to ward off any attacks, “I’m not the man you faced before, I’ll take you out myself this time.” “So you say,” The Proto Lord wheezed from somewhere in the dark, “And yet you still bring so many users of the Power Divine to fight alongside you. So many snacks for me to feast upon.”That was the final straw for Alexei. With a pulse of arcane power, Alexei slammed his staff down onto the ground. A sphere of light erupted out from where he stood, a magery spell desi
Nerves had seeped into the hearts of the men that Alexei and Harold had chosen to take with them into the underground sanctum of the Proto Lord the moment they took their first steps into the tunnel system that the creature had made its home. They all looked to be strong and full of heart, but Alexei could sense it. The fear was electric and it was all he could do not to get caught up in the worry himself. Instead, he drew his staff and allowed it to shift forms into that of a magery wand, perfect to be used in enclosed situations and easier to maneuver with so many bodies around. With a flex of his will, Alexei summoned a ball of light at the tip of the wand and sent it out ahead of the group. It illuminated the dank depths of the tunnel that they were slowly descending into. Once upon a time, Alexei could have imagined the tunnel being used for mining and most likely to serve as a lower down access port to the well that he had originally sensed the malaise of the Proto Lord seep
As Alexei explained what the Proto Lord was to Harold and the other members of the Royal Defence Corps he could tell that their willingness to fight such a creature was waning further and further. Alexei could understand. After being told to go to the front line and expecting to die in combat defending the kingdom the shades had all disappeared. That had given them all a second chance at living. Being told that they instead had to fight a being that was well on its way to becoming the next Demon Lord? Something that, just like the shades, could kill you and then perhaps use you to fight the rest of your friends? That wasn’t something that a lot of people were keen on. Harold, though, was a brave man and always had been. “Very well,” He said as Alexei came to the end of his explanation, “If that is the case then this so-called Proto Lord must fall before the Proto part of the wretched thing's name becomes Demon instead.“I will not order anyone to join myself or Alexei in this f
Alexei placed his hand onto the Warp Gate and sent a pulse of magery through the system. He’d never actually had to operate one of the things before, but thanks to his more innate relationship with magery it was a bit like opening a book and simply reading from the pages. He placed his palm onto the stone and it fed information directly to him and allowed him to open a temporary link between the gate he was standing next to and the gate that was back in Alandria. It opened with a sputter at first and then, as Alexei made the link between the gates more solid, it blazed into life with a swirling blue glow. “You really are full of surprises now, aren’t you,” Harold said with a shake of his head, he couldn’t believe how different his friend had become compared to the last time he had seen the man. “Just a bit of advanced magery,” Alexei shrugged, “What did you expect me to do when I got kicked out of the Academy, go become a merchant somewhere?”“That probably would have been the sm
Alexei worked his way through the woods until he was able to catch up with the soldiers of the Royal Defence Corps. These were all men and women who had gone through the training at the Academy and come out the other end, each of them with a Power Divine powerful enough for the previous Demon Lord to want to absorb it. Perfect for fighting against a Proto Lord who hadn’t fully come into the powers that Eldreth was offering them. At first, Alexei wasn’t sure who he should approach, but then he noticed someone who looked just a little bit familiar. Without any doubts, Alexei was sure the man he saw walking in the centre of the column was none other than his old friend from the Academy, Harold. “Harold!” He exclaimed, “Is that you?” The column of marching soldiers froze instantly, like a rabbit caught in the path of an oncoming dragonhorse, before turning on Alexei with their powers at the ready. It took only a moment for Harold to realise who had called out to him. “A… Alexei?!
“Okay, wish me luck you two,” Alexei said, he was standing in front of a Warp Gate, one that Risa had told him led to a town that was very close to the front. Neave wrapped her arms around him as best she could and he returned it by holding her close. “You better come back safely, yeah?” Risa said, she held his gaze with a stern look. “Hey, if the Shades are running wild then you have my promise that I’ll be jumping right back into that Warp Gate,” Alexei said, “This is a recon mission, nothing more nothing less. Promise.”She gave him a critical eye, “You know, every time you’ve ever said that you’re just going to look at something or do a bit of recon you’ve come super close to dying.” “Yeah, but those times I had no idea what I was going into, this time it’s either going to be one of two things, and only one of those two things could actually be dangerous. Pretty good odds if you ask me,” Alexei said with a grin, though he could tell he was only annoying Risa with his banter.
Waking up in the morning Alexei realised that, despite everything that was going on, he actually felt pretty good. Not only was the threat of the Demon Lord technically dealt with, he’d also met with the Administrar and had basically engineered a situation where the man would no longer be able to send people after him. All things said and done, that was two of his major problems dealt with already, even if he did still plan to get his revenge on the Administrar in one way or another. The man couldn’t be allowed to continue in his post, not after he had sacrificed so many Initiates to the Shade Front for no good reason. When everything had concluded and everyone was safe, Alexei intended to go to the Royal Household and speak to the Emperor, perhaps he would listen to reason, if Alexei could get an audience with the man of course. Alexei pulled himself out of bed, wrapped a towel around his waist, and walked off to the shower room. He shivered as the cold water streamed onto his
“So, let me get this straight,” Lyla said, “You’re going all the way to the front to maybe take on a massive Shade Army that you have no hope of actually fighting against just in case they’ve gone wild now that the Demon Lord is actually properly dead.” It was a pretty succinct way of explaining the situation, but Alexei was glad that Lyla had grasped the broad strokes of what was going on. “Yeah, pretty much,” Alexei shrugged, “Though I have a feeling that it’s not going to be nearly as bad as you’ve just made it sound. In fact, I think it’s going to be a wasted trip, but a necessary one just in case.” “A wasted trip?” Lyla asked. “Well, after first meeting the Demon Lord and being given a sliver of his powers I’ve always been able to sort of… you know, sense them,” Alexei said, “Just as a kind of dark fuzz off to the eastern border. Can’t feel that anymore.” “What, as in they’re just gone?” “That’s what it feels like, yeah,” Alexei said, “It feels like the Demon Lord had one l